Thursday, 18 December 2014

Topbox Review - December 2014 - Canadian Beauty Subscription Box

What is it? Topbox
How Much? $12 per month plus tax, shipping included
What’s in it?  4 deluxe beauty samples  
Topbox is a Canadian subscription service that sends four deluxe samples from top beauty brands each month. Topbox is the premiere monthly beauty subscription box in Canada and at only $12 per month, it's a great intro box for those interested in what the beauty box craze is all about.

My December Topbox shipped on the 15th and arrived on the 17th. As usual, I selected a regular box, with "eco-packaging". The eco-packaging means my products are packaged in a reusable organza bag instead of the signature tube.

I didn't see any spoilers this month, so I had no idea what to expect. I also make a point to never read the product card until I've completely unboxed everything. Product cards spoil the initial fun!

Faith Aromatherapy & Apothecary Gingerbread Shower Gel (251ml full size, $15.99)
This is a great full sized product with a lovely holiday scent. My bottle wasn't fully sealed though. It looks like someone peeled the foil seal back to take a sniff. 

Marsk Natural Mineral Eye Shadow in Rich List (1.2g full size, $22.50)
This is a glitzy gold mineral eye shadow. Not totally sure how I feel about it... might end up on my swap board.

Kinetics Nail Polish in Ice Smoothie (15ml full size, $12)
This is the third Kinetics polish I've received from Topbox. Time for something new, me thinks.

Eslor Introductory Collection
I received this set in a previous Beauty Box 5 box and I wasn't impressed then either. Some people have said these four 5ml foil packets are worth $15. I feel foil packets are worth nothing, no matter the retail value of the full size product.

My December Topbox included four items, with an approximate retail value of $65.49 with the Eslor packets, or $50.49 without. It's a decent value, considering this box only costs $13.44 with tax (in BC), but I'm not super thrilled. Three of my four items are full size, which is great, but did I really need another Kinetics nail polish? I love the body wash, but the eye shadow is so-so for me. I'm really torn this month because I enjoy Topbox, but with new top level subscription services shipping to Canada now, there's a lot more competition. I'm not sure if Topbox will make the cut in the new year.

Click here if you are interested in checking out Topbox.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Bespoke Post Black Box Review - Bespoke Post Black Friday Deal

Over Black Friday weekend, Bespoke Post offered a great promo that I couldn't pass up.  With every $45 purchase, customers received The Bespoke Post Black Box absolutely free. The Black Box was said to be a super secret package full of fantastic stocking stuffers for the man in your life.
Practical. Aromatic. Fresh. Boozy. And above all: secret.
This classified assembly of goods is worth over $45, and it’s all plenty enviable. Use them as the season’s best stocking stuffers, or keep them all for yourself. We won’t judge.
Curious yet?
I put in an order and received one Black Box. I decided to share the unboxing here so those of you that didn't place an order can see what you missed. Maybe this will help you decide whether or not you'll get in on the Bespoke Post promo next year.

First look

Dr. Squatch Hand Made Soap in Gold Moss Scrub (5oz, $6)
I also received this in my Bespoke Post Refresh box.

Marvis Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste (10ml,  $1.40)
This is another item from the Bespoke Post Refresh box.

Stolen Riches Dress Laces ($17.50)
Expensive laces! My brother-in-law might get some use from these.

Line of Trade Leather Cord Carry (~$15)
Any idea what this does?

It's a cord wrap! It's a custom piece so I have no idea what the retail value is, but given Line of Trade wallets and sunglass cases run from $60-75, I'm confident that this is worth at least $15.

Alfred Lane Solid Cologne in Bravado ($17.95)
This smells yummy. I'm going to save it for someone special.

Bittercube Blackstrap Bitters (1oz, $10)
I'm going to have to look up some recipes to see what to do with this one.

The Bespoke Post Black Box contained six items, with an estimated retail value of $67.85 US. I received this box free with a $45 purchase from Bespoke Post (I bought a cookbook I've been coveting and a couple small items for my Dad). Along with the tangible items, this box also included a $10 discount card (on $75 minimum purchase). I've seen one other variation on The Black Box. Instead of  the Dr. Squatch soap, I saw a box that contained a pair of sock, but everything else was the same. Overall, I'm happy I went for this Black Friday deal and I will definitely jump on it next year!

Click here to check out Bespoke Post.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Roasters Pack Review - December 2014 - Canadian Coffee Subscription Service + PROMO CODE

This box was provided complimentary for review.
What is it? The Roasters Pack
How Much? $29.99/month. Save on 3, 6, or 12 month subscriptions. Includes tax and shipping!
What's in it? Three 4oz bags of fresh coffee beans, roasted by independent Canadian roasters

The Roasters Pack is a Canadian coffee subscription service. Each month, The Roasters Pack sends three roasts from three different artisan roasters. The independently roasted beans can make more than a month’s worth of coffee.

We dig to find coffee roasters that aren't available on your average grocery shelf but are producing exceptional coffee. For the one beverage most folks drink daily, we want to make it as enjoyable and interesting as possible. Our goal is to put the light on some of the smaller roasters who are creating a great product but don't have the means to get through the regular channels of distribution.

Along with three packages of coffee each month, The Roasters Pack also offers tasting notes and special extras. On their website, you can find in depth information about the roast and the roaster behind it.

All our roasters have a unique story to tell. Through videos, photographs and interviews of the roasters, we present a unique and intimate perspective on their craft. We share their coffee, their story and then share a portion of the profits with the charity.

First Look!

It's also worth noting that when you subscribe, you can chose your grind. Select from whole bean, coarse (for French Press), medium (for flat bottom drip filters), fine (for cone bottom drip filters), or extra fine (for espresso machines). 

The Roasters Pack included a December product information card, and a Tasting Guide. They also included a special "coffee cupping spoon" for slurping. I didn't know this, but a coffee cupping spoon is an "important part of any coffee evaluators' repertoire". They say that an aggressive slurp will spread the coffee to all areas of the tongue. Sounds a little like wine tasting, and I'm great at wine tasting!

Detour Coffee Roasters Holiday Blend - Roasted in Burlington, ON
This Holiday blend is a combination of two coffees – an Ethiopian Konga & a Kenyan Kiamwangi. Each with a separate roast profile, they’re combined with a deliberate ratio which creates the target taste profile. The tasting notes are butterum, dried cherries and molasses. The butterrum body is incredibly smooth and molasses sweetness combined with the dried fruit give a taste profile a bit like fruitcake – but without the dried texture that sometimes can be associated with the holiday cake.

De Mello Palheta Ethiopia Shay Ayra Light Roast - Roasted in Toronto, ON
These delicious beans by de Mello are processed in one of the more interesting methods - called natural processing. As opposed to the washed method, this leaves the cherry on the bean during drying process, which imparts significantly more flavour into the seed. And holy heck, this is a flavourful fruit-jam of a coffee. This taste profile of strawberries and red fruit combined with floral notes is absolutely flawless.

Anchored La Virgen Coffee Medium-Light Roast - Roasted in Dartmouth, NS
A little bit classic and a little bit adventurous. La Vergin from Anchored Coffee is that to a tee. Here's a quote from Dean Petty (who describes himself as the 'Owner/Fun Coordinator' at Anchored) on the adventure your taste buds will go on with this coffee. It’s not overly acidic or overly fruity, it’s still balanced, it still has really interesting and complex notes but it’s not smacking you in the face.

The December box from The Roasters Pack included three great coffee blends from Canadian roasters, along with a Cupping Spoon for coffee tasting. It's a really great subscription service and I enjoyed reading over the notes and interviews on each roast. I didn't realize there was such an art to coffee roasting and tasting. It's quite incredible! This would make a great gift for the coffee lover in your life. Gift subscriptions are available in 1, 3, 6, or 12 month increments. 

If you are interested in trying The Roasters Pack, use promo code CDNBOX5 to save $5 off your first month. The next issue of The Roasters Pack ships January 1st (or thereabouts).

Click here to check out The Roasters Pack.

Monday, 15 December 2014

New Canadian Subscription Box Find - LoveLifeBoxes

What is it? LoveLifeBoxes
How much? $25/month, plus shipping. Save on 3 & 6 month terms. See FAQ for shipping rates.
What's in it? An entire date night experience for you an your partner.

Do these two look familiar? They will if you watched Season 2 of the Bachelor Canada. Meet Tim Warmels and his fiance, April Brockman. Tim chose April, and she accepted his final rose. They have been together for over half a year, and have also started a new business venture together.

"Every month we scour the shops and trade shows to find you the best the industry has to offer. And then we go a step further. We don't simply select a product and enmesh it in some lovely paper on its way to you. We build an experience around the product." 

According to Tim, LoveLifeBoxes is a subscription service that operates at the crossroads of class and romance.

"We don't send any freaky sex toys, but instead build a romantic date night around products we love."

Each month, LoveLifeBoxes sends you and your partner a new and exciting surprise. They aim to create an enchanting and romantic experience for you and your partner. 

December was their launch month, so Tim offered a sneak peek of the December box to see what you might expect if you ordered from LoveLifeBoxes.

The website provided a hint for a possible theme:

"... it's when the flame is extinguished, that the fun really begins."

The December box included "For Her Eyes Only" and "For His Eyes Only" date cards. The instructions on the "His" card include activities that take the gentleman a week to complete leading up to date night. 

" night involv(es) 2 full size scented candles that, when lit turn into massage oil. You just blow out the candle and pour it on!"

I have no information on what the "Hers" card includes, but I'm very curious! Tim didn't want to reveal too much, since December boxes are still available to purchase.   
I think LoveLifeBoxes is a great concept, and there is nothing like it on the Canadian market. I like that they create an entire experience and focus on romance in a sophisticated way. Tim and April probably have a lot of fun coming up with ideas and putting these packages together!

What do you think of LoveLifeBoxes? Did you watch Tim & April's season of the Bachelor Canada?

Click here to check out LoveLifeBoxes

Photos in this post were provided by and copyright Tim Warmels.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

New Canadian Subscription Box Find - welliBOX

What is it? welliBOX
How much? $10/month, plus $4.95/month shipping. Save on 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions.
What's in it? 5-10 supplement samples every month, with a retail value of $25

welliBOX is a brand new Canadian subscription service that sends a monthly box of supplement samples. They launched just a few days ago! David, the owner of welliBOX said the idea came from working in the supplement industry for over 5 years, and noticing that no one in Canada was offering sample boxes for natural whole foods and supplements.

How many times have you went to a health food store only to walk the same isle, over and over again? Debating about which flavoured protein is right for you, or which detox tea tastes best... Stop wondering, and start sampling.

welliBOX has four options - welliBOX for Her, welliBOX for Him, welliBOX 50+, amd welliBOX Performance (for athletes). Subscriptions start at $10 per month, plus shipping of $4.95 per month. 

This subscription looks like it might be comparable to BuluBox, the American supplement sampling subscription that ceased shipping to Canada last year. I signed up for 3-months to check it out so I will be sure to report back when I receive my first box! 

Click here to check out welliBOX.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Glossybox Review - November 2014 - Beauty Subscription Box

This post contains referral links.
What is it? GLOSSYBOX
How much? $21/month plus $5 shipping (US). Save on 3, 6, & 12 month subscriptions.
What's in it? 5
surprise luxury beauty products packaged in a glossy pink gift box

GLOSSYBOX is a premiere beauty sampling program, operating in more than a dozen countries worldwide. They consider themselves the "leading purveyor of luxury beauty samples on a global stage".  
We are committed to introducing the most exciting brands throughout the world to you. Whether it be a product featured on the runways of Milan or the newest skincare regimen from Japan, we strive to make sure you are the first to have access to it.

This is the first GLOSSYBOX USA for Canadian customers. It's the November box, but mine didn't ship until December 2nd. It arrived December 9th.

Finally the pretty pink box! I've wanted one of these for so long. It's smaller than I expected, but still very lovely.

The box was packaged with care.  Tissue, crinkle paper, a ribbon. The whole nine yards. It felt like opening a gift.

The product card is a full colour fold out and includes photos, product details, tips for use, and full size volume and price.

First look!

I was supposes to receive a bonus bracelet from the ALEXANI promo, but it wasn't in my box. I e-mailed to find out what happened and am awaiting reply.

Update: I received a reply about 36 hours later. The CSR told me that the original bracelet from the promo was no longer in stock, but they could send me this one instead. Hopefully it comes in the next box, or sooner!

OPI Nail Lacquer in Pink Outside The Glossybox ($9.50)
This is an exclusive shade made just for Glossybox! It's a nice neutral. Not as pink as it seems.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer (0.5oz, $11.25)
Replenish and firm your skin with this clinically proven power packed age defy moisturizer that combines a brightening and refining complex of certified organic juices, with an antioxidant cocktail of alpha lipoic acid, Co Q10, Vitamin C, peptides and DMAE for optimum age defying results.
This is great because the winter FabFitFun box is going to include the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel so the two can be used together.

12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment (1.5oz,  $7.25)
12 Benefits™ composition of natural hair lipids and UV absorbers in an ultra pure base of steam-distilled water reverses the stress of chemicals, thermal styling and environmental exposure. When applied after a hair-color service, 12 Benefits™ seals and protects for longer lasting color results.

Kneipp Herbal Bath: Balancing in Lavender (20ml travel size, $5.50)
Known for its balancing effects, this aroma intensive bath treatment helps to combat mental and physical fatigue. Through the relaxing effect of the Lavender herb, it is most helpful when you feel nervous or itching which could be a symptom of our over-stressed and overly-busy lives. The balancing effect of Lavender can also be very energizing.

Kryolan for Glossybox Blusher in Glossy Rosewood (full size 2.5g, $16.17 - actual $6.80)
This is another exclusive for Glossybox. It's actually a good shade for me. Not too pink and not too orange.  I question their valuation of this. A 2.5g blusher refill from Kryolan is only $6.80. I don't see how a cheap plastic compact makes it work an additional $10, so I'm going with retail price.

The November GLOSSYBOX for Canadians included five items valued around $40.30. This box costs $21 USD, plus $5 shipping to Canada. With exchange, it comes pretty close to $30 Canadian. The value isn't great, but I like the products I received. The samples are all deluxe or travel size and there are two products exclusive to this box. The variety is good too, with something for body, hair, face, and nails. From what I've read, this is a typical offering from Glossybox. I'm interested in seeing what else they bring us in the coming months. I just hope they get the shipping sorted out. I would like to receive my December box before January!

Click here to check out GLOSSYBOX.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

PawPak Review - November 2014 - Canadian Pet Subscription Box + PROMO CODE

This box was provided complimentary for review.
What is it? PawPak
How Much? $34.95/month + tax. Save on 3, 6, & 12 month plans. Shipping included.
What’s in it? A mix of toys, treats and other goodies for your furry friend 

PawPak is a Canadian subscription service for dogs. When you sign up, your furry friend will receive a box of toys, treats, and other goodies every month. PawPak is a family owned company, run by dog lovers. They are proud to be Canadian and in every box PawPak makes a point of including Canadian made products from Canadian companies. Products marked with an asterisk in this review are from Canadian companies
The theme for November is "Practicing for Winter" and it's all about keeping cozy as the cold comes in.

PawPak always includes a detailed product card, and don't forget the referral program! When you sign up, you will be issued a unique code. When your friends sign up using your code, they get $5 and you get a free box!  

Coastal Pet Products Remington Plush Goose ($9.99 - sale $6.99)
Jack loved this, as usual. All his stuffies got kicked to the curb and the goose is now the apple of his eye. If we don't play fetch with it, he places it at our feet, lays down, and stares at it for hours.

Sojos Good Dog Treats in Chicken Pot Pie (8oz box, $7.95)
Sojos Good Dog Treats. Perfect treats for small dogs. These small dog treats are not short on flavor. Freshly oven-baked, our wholesome recipes use ingredients that you would find in your own kitchen. 100% Wheat and corn free. Your good dog deserves Sojos! 
These are probably too small for a medium dog like Jack, so I will save them for my mom's wee one. 

Earth Rated Poop Bag Dispenser with 2 extra rolls ($7.99 + $3.50) *From Montreal
PawPak includes poop bags every month, but this is the first time they've included the poop dispenser. I've received this one before and it's very handy. PawPak is also the only pet box I've received that includes poop bags each and every month. It's a much needed addition.

Hero Dog Treats Pizzle Stick Ribbon ($9.99 - sale $6.99) *From Ontario
Hero Dog Treats donates a portion of their proceeds to the Canadian Service Dog Foundation to help support veterans with PTSD and disabilities. This pizzle is shaped like a "Support Our Tropps" ribbon and was designed specifically to support the True Patriot Love Foundation, which supports military families. Two dollars from the sale of each Pizzle Ribbon will go directly to the Foundation. Good stuff!

Fall Colours Bandana (~$5)
I haven't used any of the other bandanas I've received. My mom isn't a fan of them for her dogs and Jack doesn't enjoy them. This will be donated.

The November PawPak included five items with an estimated retail value of $44.42 (sale value of $38.42). It's a fun and useful box as usual. The goose toy was a huge hit. The poop bags are always needed and a new dispenser will come in handy for the car. I wish they would stop including bandanas, but there are probably some dogs that enjoy them, and owners that get a kick out of a new one each season. Overall it's a well curated box with a great mix of items.

If you are interested in signing up for PawPak, use promo code cdnboxaddict to save 25% off your first month. Shipping is always free. If you are looking for a better value, consider trying a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription to save even more. With a pre-paid 12 month subscription, each box is only $24.95 plus tax.

Click here to sign up for PawPak.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Popbasic Review - Amelie Collection + DISCOUNT!

This post contains referral links.
What is it? Popbasic
How Much? Between $50-100 per collection, with free shipping (does not cover duties/tax). Save $15 off your first order using my referral link.
What's in it? Three-piece micro collection plus a beauty or lifestyle surprise from a partnering company.
Popbasic is a fashion service based in San Francisco, California. Popbasic believes "staples are a necessity in every wardrobe".  Popbasic produces "beautiful, luxurious pieces so you can build your wardrobe over time". It's not a subscription service. If you sign up to receive one collection, you will not automatically receive the next one. Instead, Popbasic releases details on each collection and let's you decide whether or not you want to purchase it.  

Last month they introduced the Amelie collection, which includes a striped dress, a necklace, and a bracelet. I've been wanting a striped dress like this for some time, so I ordered immediately. This is my first Popbasic collection.

The box shipped November 29th and arrived December 5th. Shipping is free, but I was anxious about duties or taxes due upon delivery. To my surprise, there were none. Popbasic marked the customs declaration as merchandise, originating from the US, and valued at $70. This doesn't mean there won't be fees due on future deliveries, but I was happy to see none due this time.

Popbasic includes a product card and another card with styling ideas.

Infinity Knot Bracelet (retail $20)
Whether worn on its own, or stacked with other pretty pieces, our Infinity Knot Bracelet will be a lovely addition to your collection. Rope, alloy. 
This bracelet is larger than I pictured it, but it's still nice. The tag says it's made in China, not the US. The rope is emitting a horrible odour. Maybe some Febreeze will help?

Silver Tube Necklace (retail $25)
For those days when you’re after that perfectly simple, yet delicate accessory. Wear on its own or layered with another chain. Alloy, silver plated. 

Bonus - Circles Necklace (u/k value)
The tube necklace is flimsier than I expected, but it's still a useful piece and will be good for layering. The circles necklace is a bonus (I'm guessing). It isn't listed on the product card. I actually like it better than the tube necklace. 

Caylin Just Mineral Eye Polish in Orchid ($15)
This is another bonus item. At first I thought it was a cream shadow, but it's actually mineral powder, with a build in sponge applicator. It's a neat idea, but I'm not sure how well the sponge will work. I like the colour too. 

Le Breton Dress ($70) 
A fun twist on our classic Le Breton. We’ve taken it out for a spin, added pockets and adjusted the sleeves to a 3/4 length for transitional dressing. 95% rayon; 5% spandex.
The coveted dress. Well... It's not what I was expecting. And I would have a hard time spending $70 for this in a retail store. I should have known for a rayon/spandex blend it would be like this, but for some reason I overlooked that part. I was expecting it to be more structured. Instead it's flimsy, like jersey, and practically see through. It's not terrible, but I don't love it like I thought I would.

Popbasic's Amelie Collection included a dress, two necklaces, a bracelet, and a cosmetic item. I love the two bonus items they included. It was a great surprise to see the extra, unexpected items. I felt very spoiled! This box cost $70 US with free shipping, and includes five items with an estimated retail value over $130. I really feel that the dress and jewellery items are over priced, but everything is decent quality and seems to be well made. The dress is nice and will suit many people, but it wasn't what I was expecting. Regardless, I enjoyed opening this box and the entire Popbasic experience. I look forward to the next collection.

If you are interested in Popbasic, use my referral link and save $15 off your first box!

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